Jump to content
tanknet.org

What If: Kaiser Willie Dies In 1909?


Recommended Posts

  • Replies 323
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Most likely not much in regard to WW1. Maybe there is a bit less tension between Germany and the UK, but after the Austrian crown prince is killed, it would probably go down the same route.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What if Kaiser Willie died in 1909 in the aftermath of the Eulenberg scandal?

 

A brief reading about the Kaiser's eldest son Wilhelm suggests that his outlook was strongly nationalist, and he wanted to expand the army. His military career suggests a more professional and focused approach to leadership than his impulsive father. The 1909-1912 was the period in which Germany was trying for détente with each of the Entente partners. It is possible another Chancellor is appointed rather than Bethmann and the new Chancellor may have more freedom to pursue a naval treaty in favor of army expansion. The most interesting choice for Chancellor would be Adolf Marschall von Bieberstein the closest thing to a Bismarck the Germans had. It is unlikely that malleable amateur Lichnowsky is appointed ambassador to Great Britain, and the German foreign office's understanding of this complex relationship improves.

Edited by glenn239
Link to post
Share on other sites

 

What if Kaiser Willie died in 1909 in the aftermath of the Eulenberg scandal?

 

A brief reading about the Kaiser's eldest son Wilhelm suggests that his outlook was strongly nationalist, and he wanted to expand the army. His military career suggests a more professional and focused approach to leadership than his impulsive father. The 1909-1912 was the period in which Germany was trying for détente with each of the Entente partners. It is possible another Chancellor is appointed rather than Bethmann and the new Chancellor may have more freedom to pursue a naval treaty in favor of army expansion. The most interesting choice for Chancellor would be Adolf Marschall von Bieberstein the closest thing to a Bismarck the Germans had. It is unlikely that malleable amateur Lichnowsky is appointed ambassador to Great Britain, and the German foreign office's understanding of this complex relationship improves.

 

Very good point. Also the Crown Prince (Kaiser Willie III) would also be more likely to do personal diplomacy with his British cousins I suspect, than is irresponsible father. I think he would look at at Tsar as the major danger rather then the British. Also he might be more interested in the colonies, and German Colonial expansion?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Would any change in any of the participants of WW1 prior to the war mean that the trench warfare was abandoned? I'm thinking that someone was very interested in how to change the way war was being performed like what the Boers did for example or is it just the invention of the tank that will change this?

 

/R

Link to post
Share on other sites

Would any change in any of the participants of WW1 prior to the war mean that the trench warfare was abandoned? I'm thinking that someone was very interested in how to change the way war was being performed like what the Boers did for example or is it just the invention of the tank that will change this?

 

/R

I am not sure, but I think it was the tank. No one really learned the lessons of the Boer war (at least on the British side).

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Would any change in any of the participants of WW1 prior to the war mean that the trench warfare was abandoned? I'm thinking that someone was very interested in how to change the way war was being performed like what the Boers did for example or is it just the invention of the tank that will change this?

 

/R

I am not sure, but I think it was the tank. No one really learned the lessons of the Boer war (at least on the British side).

Theres actually a (debatable) case that the ACW predicted a lot of Ww1.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Would any change in any of the participants of WW1 prior to the war mean that the trench warfare was abandoned? I'm thinking that someone was very interested in how to change the way war was being performed like what the Boers did for example or is it just the invention of the tank that will change this?

 

/R

I am not sure, but I think it was the tank. No one really learned the lessons of the Boer war (at least on the British side).

Theres actually a (debatable) case that the ACW predicted a lot of Ww1.

 

I cannot disagree with that.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

What if Kaiser Willie died in 1909 in the aftermath of the Eulenberg scandal?

 

A brief reading about the Kaiser's eldest son Wilhelm suggests that his outlook was strongly nationalist, and he wanted to expand the army. His military career suggests a more professional and focused approach to leadership than his impulsive father. The 1909-1912 was the period in which Germany was trying for détente with each of the Entente partners. It is possible another Chancellor is appointed rather than Bethmann and the new Chancellor may have more freedom to pursue a naval treaty in favor of army expansion. The most interesting choice for Chancellor would be Adolf Marschall von Bieberstein the closest thing to a Bismarck the Germans had. It is unlikely that malleable amateur Lichnowsky is appointed ambassador to Great Britain, and the German foreign office's understanding of this complex relationship improves.

 

Very good point. Also the Crown Prince (Kaiser Willie III) would also be more likely to do personal diplomacy with his British cousins I suspect, than is irresponsible father. I think he would look at at Tsar as the major danger rather then the British. Also he might be more interested in the colonies, and German Colonial expansion?

 

 

I think the Crown Prince would make a more consistent Kaiser, but I doubt he'd be any more focused on colonial expansion than his dad. That's because Wilhelm was already pretty keen on the idea of colonial expansion, the roadblock being that the established colonial powers did not want to make room for Germany, moreso than any lack of enthusiasm for it in Berlin.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Would any change in any of the participants of WW1 prior to the war mean that the trench warfare was abandoned? I'm thinking that someone was very interested in how to change the way war was being performed like what the Boers did for example or is it just the invention of the tank that will change this?

 

/R

I am not sure, but I think it was the tank. No one really learned the lessons of the Boer war (at least on the British side).

Theres actually a (debatable) case that the ACW predicted a lot of Ww1.

 

I'm guessing that ACW is the civil war (I did have to google it), in what way did i predict WW1?

 

Would the sort-of-guerilla tactics used by the Boers work in the battlefield in Europe, is there any way it could break up the trench way of thinking?

Am I getting to it from the wrong angle and the trench warfare is a reaction to the Boers running circles around the very static formations of the British troops and since you're dug in the Boer tactics won't work?

 

(No I haven't studied tactics very much)

 

/R

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, the Boer tactics didnt even work for the Boers in the end, so probably not. :)

 

Not taking anything away from the civil war, which had trenchworks very similar to that seen in WW1 at the very end, but you can draw examples of trenchworks a long way back in history.

https://www.quora.com/To-what-extent-were-Trenches-used-in-the-Napoleonic-Wars

 

It was not uncommon in the English civil war either, at least in sieges.

 

Even tunnelling which became such a staple of WW1 can owe its origin's as far back as the middle ages, when they used it as a means of undermining walls. Dig a hole under a wall, fill it up with pit props, fill the tunnel up with pg carcass which you set fire to. I gather Dover Castle shows some signs of that.

 

The ACW showed a change in the use of Trenches, when they were used on a much larger scale, presumably because field armies were much larger, and railways made it much easier to bring in materials and men to build them. But I think the trend had began even before then with other wars.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

 

Would any change in any of the participants of WW1 prior to the war mean that the trench warfare was abandoned? I'm thinking that someone was very interested in how to change the way war was being performed like what the Boers did for example or is it just the invention of the tank that will change this?

 

/R

I am not sure, but I think it was the tank. No one really learned the lessons of the Boer war (at least on the British side).

Theres actually a (debatable) case that the ACW predicted a lot of Ww1.

 

I'm guessing that ACW is the civil war (I did have to google it), in what way did i predict WW1?

 

Would the sort-of-guerilla tactics used by the Boers work in the battlefield in Europe, is there any way it could break up the trench way of thinking?

Am I getting to it from the wrong angle and the trench warfare is a reaction to the Boers running circles around the very static formations of the British troops and since you're dug in the Boer tactics won't work?

 

(No I haven't studied tactics very much)

 

/R

 

Regarding the American Civil War, towards the end trench warfare became a feature of the battles in the east. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Petersburg

Link to post
Share on other sites

It refers to the period when a commander could stand on a position and see the entire battlefield and give orders by visual signal or messenger.

 

https://warroom.armywarcollege.edu/special-series/great-captains/great-captains-about-command-and-those-who-did-it-best/

 

Actually, by the time Napoleon led his armies into Russia, this was no longer the case, and time and distance outpaced the abilities of a single person, however 'great,' to exercise command.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

It was not uncommon in the English civil war either, at least in sieges.

 

 

 

Trenchworks were essential to every well conducted siege in the age of artillery. Handbooks on siege warfare (most notably by Vauban) spend a lot of pages on trenchworks: localisation, how to dig etc etc.. In a sense a WWI front was just an extended siege, the lines of wich could essentially have been build in the 17th century ...... (they had parrallell trench lines, broken traces to stop enfilading fire, communication trenches, etc...)

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

 

It was not uncommon in the English civil war either, at least in sieges.

 

 

 

Trenchworks were essential to every well conducted siege in the age of artillery. Handbooks on siege warfare (most notably by Vauban) spend a lot of pages on trenchworks: localisation, how to dig etc etc.. In a sense a WWI front was just an extended siege, the lines of wich could essentially have been build in the 17th century ...... (they had parrallell trench lines, broken traces to stop enfilading fire, communication trenches, etc...)

 

Good point.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

In 1909 the naval race with Britain was at a climax, but also where it should be clear to the Germans that they couldn't win that race. In that context anyone on the Throne just a little less fixed on new shiny battleships might have a chance to reach a naval agreement with Britain - ie. Britain needing a much bigger provocation to join the war.

 

Apart from the obvious diplomatic and strategic effects it will also mean a larger part of public spending going to the army. The German navy had taken a surprisingly large part of the budget for a country basically not needing a navy but relying on an army to survive. A "no High Seas Fleet" timeline might also mean the advancement of various chemical inventions to replace overseas import, as there now is no chance of breaking a blockade.

 

IMHO this can mean two things. Either there will never be a WWI as the French and Russians realise it will be too risky - or - the French and Russians will loose.

 

A no WWI timeline will have implications beyond imagination, but even a quick German victory might be interesting. My theory is that the Socialdemocrats will win the elections after the war and soon strike the usual contract with capital - stable labor for a larger share of economy and power. That will only leave space for the Kaiser if he accepts a mainly symbolic role - so it was in all the other places where Monarchy survived and anyway Germany by early 20th century wasn't anywhere near an absolute monarchy.

 

If Russia stays stable it will probably grow fast industrially as will Austria-Hungary. Combined with a probably still revanchist France that might mean trouble, but I would guess the British might support the Germans here, as the Russians probably will put a lot of the growing capacity into building a seagoing navy. By 1914 Russia had a very ambitious naval expansions programme.

 

OTOH a socialdemocratic Germany (Sweden on steroids) might be quite keen on speaking up against colonialism and thus appear quite annoying seen from London. But what the heck, they can say what they want as long as it isn't from the bridge of a battleshjp!

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Fleet Laws of 98, 00, and 07 would see that the German battleships/cruisers are built to a set number and replacement rate. The Navy was popular with the National Liberals. Diplomacy of the period ebbs and flows depending on whether A-H or Turkey is considered the "Sick Man of Europe."

 

The Sarajevo assassination of Archduke Ferdinand need not have ignited the Great War, if only because F was not liked in Vienna and little mourned because of his outrageous notions of freedom for the nationalities and a possible Triple Monarchy. It did show that nobody had control of their generals.

 

The fact was that in 1914, the only place that conflict within Europe was even thought possible was ..... Ireland. There simply were no territorial disputes worthy of war among European powers.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Fleet Laws of 98, 00, and 07 would see that the German battleships/cruisers are built to a set number and replacement rate. The Navy was popular with the National Liberals. Diplomacy of the period ebbs and flows depending on whether A-H or Turkey is considered the "Sick Man of Europe."

 

The Sarajevo assassination of Archduke Ferdinand need not have ignited the Great War, if only because F was not liked in Vienna and little mourned because of his outrageous notions of freedom for the nationalities and a possible Triple Monarchy. It did show that nobody had control of their generals.

 

The fact was that in 1914, the only place that conflict within Europe was even thought possible was ..... Ireland. There simply were no territorial disputes worthy of war among European powers.

 

The eventual breakdown of the Turkish empire could also ignite a war.

Link to post
Share on other sites

For the German side the strategic position would only change if the British relationship with the French would turn sour, but from a British perspective Germany was the stronger rival than the French after 1871, even with no colonial ambitions it would still be the central power in Europe. For the same reason I see nothing that would change the alliance between France and Russia, which also means that Germany should aim to be able to win against the combined navies of France and Russia, so naval ambitions would still exist. Due to this the alliance between Germany and Austria-Hungary is also logical. And to be honest no major power would accept an assassination of the crown prince by the hand of a small country. So the Austirians moving against the Serbians is a given, the line can only be broken if France signals Russia that it won´t join a war on their side and Russia does not mobilize, but in case of a neutral UK, France and Russia would need each other even more strongly.

Link to post
Share on other sites

War came in 1914 because of inept diplomats and jump for glory militarists, civilian and military alike. But that did not make it inevitable. Serbia was already bending to AH demands but they already had the idiotic blank check from Wilhelm II. The last hope was the Tsar, but he could not make his cancellation of full mobilization stick.

 

Total miscalculation, not seen again until 2003.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

The Fleet Laws of 98, 00, and 07 would see that the German battleships/cruisers are built to a set number and replacement rate. The Navy was popular with the National Liberals. Diplomacy of the period ebbs and flows depending on whether A-H or Turkey is considered the "Sick Man of Europe."

 

The Sarajevo assassination of Archduke Ferdinand need not have ignited the Great War, if only because F was not liked in Vienna and little mourned because of his outrageous notions of freedom for the nationalities and a possible Triple Monarchy. It did show that nobody had control of their generals.

 

The fact was that in 1914, the only place that conflict within Europe was even thought possible was ..... Ireland. There simply were no territorial disputes worthy of war among European powers.

 

The eventual breakdown of the Turkish empire could also ignite a war.

 

 

There was at least one historian that claimed the Ottomans were if anything, more stable on the outbreak of war than they had been in years. I gather the industrialization bug had bitten them too. You have to wonder how the modern middle east would now look if we had sunk the Goeben....

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...